Vol 26.18 - Mishpatim 3 Spanish French Audio Video
1. Regarding the laws of conversion, Rambam writes in Sefer Yad Hachazakah (Hil. Issurei Biah 13:1-4):
“There are three ways in which Yisroel enters the covenant: by circumcision, by immersion, and by a Temple offering.
Milah was . ., immersion was etc., and a Korban, as it states, "And he sent out the youth of the children of Israel and they brought burnt offerings."
Similarly, for (all) future generations, when a gentile desires to enter into the covenant .. he must undergo circumcision, immersion, and the offering of a sacrifice (הרצאת קרבן) . .as it states: "As it is for you, so shall it be for the convert." Just as you (entered the covenant) with circumcision, immersion, and the offering of a sacrifice; so, too, for future generations, a convert must undergo circumcision, immersion, and must bring a sacrifice”.
After this, Rambam writes, in a separate Halacha (after he explains, “what is the Korban of a convert” :
“In the present age, when there are no sacrifices, (a convert) must undergo circumcision and immersion. When the Temple is rebuilt, he must bring a sacrifice”.
From the plain wording, it appears that in the present age, circumcision and immersion is sufficient to become a complete convert. It is just that he has an obligation, when the Beit HaMikdash is rebuilt, to bring a Korban.
In the scope of the reason of this very law, that in In the present age one becomes a (complete) convert solely through circumcision and immersion,
(Even though that in the time of the Temple, entering the covenant required three things and if a “convert was circumcised, and immersed himself but did not yet bring his Korban . . his failing to bring his sacrifice prevents him from being a complete convert . . like all the full-fledged members of Yisroel. Accordingly, he may not partake of sacrificial foods (קדשים), because he has not become a full-fledged member of Yisroel”) -
the Rogotchover Gaon writes,
“He is not called a full-fledged member of Yisroel, except with regard to Kodashim. However, for other things, he is like a Yisroel in all things. If so, in the present age, he is not lacking anything because of the Korban”.
2. From the Rogotchover‘s words, “in the present age, he is not lacking anything“),
(Even though with regard to Kodashim, he is not called a full-fledged member of Yisroel)
it seemingly proves that, with this, he is referring to the sanctity of a Jew (קדושת ישראל) with regard to the laws that are in effect in the present age. Namely, that a convert in the present age (who becomes so, solely through circumcision and immersion) is not lacking anything in the sanctity of Yisroel.
Indeed, although partaking of the Korban is an aspect which is not in effect in the present age – however since the reason why a convert, without bringing a Korban, in the time of the Temple, is prohibited from partaking of Kodashim,
is because (in the Rogotchover’s words) “regarding Kodashim, he is not yet called a full-fledged member of Yisroel . . he does not have the status (דין) of a Yisroel” and moreover (as he writes in another place) “he is like a Ben Noach regarding Kodashim”,
it is therefore puzzling:
How is it possible to say, that all those who converted since the time of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash
(among them very many great Sages)
were considered, in certain aspects (eating Kodashim) not to have the status of a complete Yisroel; and more than this, were considered like a Ben Noach (with regard to the eating of Kodashim)?!
Rambam‘s responsa to R’ Ovadiah, the convert, is well-known.
Rambam writes, that the quality of R’ Ovadiah is greater than the quality of all other Bnei Yisroel. For all Yidden are descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, whereas converts derive their lineage from, “Him through whose word the world was created” -G-d.
If a convert. in the present age, is (in a certain aspect) like a “Ben Noach” – how can Rambam write to R’ Ovadiah the convert, that his quality, as a convert, is even greater than the quality of a Bnei Yisroel?! It is extremely simple (פשוט בתכלית) that Rambam would not say, G-d forbid, anything that does not conform to Torat Emet (the truth of Torah) - just in order to comfort (טרייסטן) and encourage (מעודד) R’ Ovadiah the convert!
To note, Rambam writes there in the continuation of the aforementioned responsa to R’ Ovadiah:
“And all that we said to you regarding the aspect of blessings, that they should not be altered, has already been proven . . (in the Talmud Yerushalmi, tractate Bikkurim) . .
It was taught in the name of R’ Yehuda: “A convert himself both brings (first fruits) and recites (the required declaration).” What is the Scriptural basis for this view? (it states:) “for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.” (In the past you were a father to Aram, but) henceforth you are the father of all nations etc. “
(Rambam also rules as Halacha, in Sefer HaYad:
“A convert may bring the first fruits and make the declaration, for it states with regard to Avraham: "I have made you a father to a multitude of nations." Implied is that he is the father of all those who enter under the shelter of the Divine presence.)
In other words, he cites a proof to R’ Ovadiah‘s conduct, in the present age, – from a convert in the time of the Temple.
3. Seemingly, one could learn (not like the Rogotchover) that the reason that a convert is prohibited from partaking Kodashim, as long as he has not brought the Korban, is because it is like,
“A lion that crouches upon it” (אריא הוא דרביע עלי)
(Note: This is a metaphor for something that is technically permitted yet forbidden by a rabbinical prohibition. Like an open door that has a “lion crouching beside it” and would not be used because it would be too dangerous. c.f Erubin 78b)
The Korban is crouching (רביע) (preventing) the eating of the Kodashim. This means that the prohibition of eating Kodashim is not due to a lack in the “person” (Gavra / גברא) but rather for a side reason (זייטיקע זאך) – the obligation to bring a Korban – which prevents him from eating Kodashim.
On the contrary, according to this Rambam’s words,
“He has not become like the proper of Yisroel“(ככשרי ישראל. Lit. “kosher”) is fitting:
“Proper (of Yisroel)“ (ככשרי ישראל) is (also) from the word proper and fitting (כושר ומוכשר). This means that as long as he has not brought his Korban (even though he is a full-fledged Jew, nevertheless) he is not “fitting” (מוכשר) to entering the covenant. This is similar to the circumcision of one’s son and servants, which prevents him from slaughtering the Korban Pesach, and eating the Korban Pesach. For it is simple that this is not a lack in his status as a Yisroel - in his person/Gavra.
According to this, Rambam‘s words to R’ Ovadiah the convert that he is not ‘inferior from the other Bnei Yisroel, and on the contrary etc.’, is plainly correct– even though he cannot eat Kodashim until he brings his Korban. For the prohibition of eating Kodashim is due to a side-matter and is external to the person (as aforementioned – “a lion crouches upon it”).
However, according to the aforementioned – one must slightly examine Rambam‘s words:
“Failing to bring his sacrifice prevents him from being a complete convert . . According to this, he may not partake of Kodashim etc. “.
For it appears from this, that as long as he has not brought his Korban - the conversion is not complete.
4. One could say that the explanation of this is:
Rambam’s wording, “failing to bring his sacrifice prevents him from being a complete convert” – meaning that it “holds him up”
(Not writing this is a positive expression, namely, that the Korban “makes him a complete convert” or “converts him” and so forth)
(Not that bringing a Korban makes him a complete convert. In other words, that through circumcision and immersion, he becomes a Yisroel just for “other things”, and in order for him to have the law of a Yisroel (also) regarding Kodashim, this is accomplished through a Korban. Rather)
his not bringing a Korban prevents him (מעכב) from being (in this aspect) a complete convert.
(It is not a contradiction from Rambam‘s wording, “With three things Yisroel enters the covenant: by circumcision, by immersion, and by a Korban . . Similarly, for (all) future generations. . enter into the covenant . . he must undergo circumcision, immersion, and the offering of a sacrifice.”
Namely, that one must possess all three things.
For in order that there be “entering” (into the covenant) there must be two aspects (deeds):
So too, is it simply:
Bringing a thing into one’s house, and so forth – depends upon removing a thing (the “lion”) that is found outside that prevents entering it into the house. Removing the “barrier” (דבר המעכב), is not a part of the “thing” (the deed) that is being brought in.
So too, is it in our case:
Rambam’s words are:
“With three things Yisroel enters (נכנסו) the covenant. . to enter (להכנס) into the covenant”And not:
“Three things brought (הכניסו) Yisroel into the covenant. . to bring them (להכניסו) into the covenant”, and so forth.
For “entering” the covenant was through that which “three things” happened (געטראפן), circumcision, immersion and (bringing a) Korban. However, they consist of two categories:
According to this:
In the present age, when there is no Korban, according to Torah - there is no barrier. Therefore, through circumcision and immersion – one becomes a complete convert (like the plain wording of the Rogotchover, “he is not lacking at all).
One could say that after one becomes a complete convert – it is permanent. This is similar to the Halachic ruling, that if one reneges his conversion (חזר לסורו) – he retains the status of a Yisroel (דין ישראל) but he is considered a Jewish apostate (מומר).
When the Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt, speedily in our time, he is permitted to also eat Kodashim, even before he brings the Korban. For he has already become a “complete convert“, “like all full-fledged Yisroel”.
In a slightly different manner (according to ethical teachings – Mussar):
It is not applicable to say that something should be taken (צוגענומען) from his holiness (מקדושתו) due to the building of the Beit HaMikdash!
5. One could say that Rambam alluded to this law – that a proselyte who converts in the present age becomes a complete convert (even in the aspect of eating Kodashim) in the laws of conversion (in Hilchot Issurei bi’ah):
After Rambam writes:
“When a gentile desires to enter into the covenant, . . he must undergo circumcision, immersion, and the offering of a sacrifice”,
he continues in the next Halacha - as aforementioned Par. 1)
“In the present age, when there are no sacrifices, (a convert) must undergo circumcision and immersion”.
From the plain wording
“In the present age”
It implies that entering the covenant, in the present age, is the same, however, in a different manner:
In the present age, the same entering is through circumcision and immersion, as Rambam writes “In the present age, when there are no sacrifices”. This implies that since there is no Korban that (prevents) – he is a complete convert (solely) through circumcision and immersion.
6. This reasoning in the (aforementioned) difference between circumcision and immersion, and Korban – that specifically circumcision and immersion enter the convert into the covenant.
(Whereas the Korban is the removal of lion that is outside (אריא שבחוץ), the external barrier that prevents).
There are two general aspects in a convert becoming a Yid, similar to the general conversion of all Yidden – at Matan Torah:
In a slightly different manner:
This is the difference between circumcision and immersion, and – bringing a Korban:
Circumcision and immersion effect the entering of the holy soul:
Whereas bringing a Korban – is a present and gift (דורון ומנחה) to G-d, to give Him satisfaction (נחײר). The word Korban comes from the word to bring close (קירוב) – bringing close the powers and senses. This effects the bringing close of one’s powers etc. to G-d – a change in one’s essence that brings one near (שמקרבו). It is the essence of a son that comes near to the essence of his father.
According to this, the difference between the time of the Temple and the present age, is understood:
The time of the Temple, in general is - “I will dwell among them”, (as witnessed by the manifestation of) the ten miracles that were present in the Beit HaMikdash etc. – the revelation of G-dliness. The Avodah of Yisroel, at that time (when G-d “dwelled among them“) was primarily – the Avodah with the revealed and inner powers of the soul – understanding and comprehending G-dliness, love and fear of G-d etc. Therefore, even the entering the covenant, of a convert, was in a manner such as this - that there must be the aspect of Korban – bringing near the powers etc.
Whereas in the time of Galut, when “We have not seen our signs”, and the main Avodah is (not so much in the revelation of the inner powers etc., but rather) actual deed and bitul and dedication to G-d, Kaballat Ol (and Mesirat Nefesh). Therefore, even a convert, accomplishes the essential entering of the holy soul (through circumcision and immersion) a complete conversion (attachment to G-d) - “he is not lacking at all”.
7. From this, one can take a lesson for all Yidden:
The conversion of all Yidden was, as aforementioned, at the time of Matan Torah. Just as the aspect of Matan Torah is a continuous act every day. As it states in the blessings of the Torah “who gives the Torah“ (נותן התורה), in the present tense. Similarly, it is understood with regard to the “entering the covenant”, that even this is an aspect which is continuous every day. As Rashi explains on the verse, “This day you have become a people” – “Each day let it appear to you as if, on that very day, you had entered the covenant with Him”.
Moreover: A semblance of convert exists every day:
The reason that one recites the blessing, “who has not made me a gentile”, every day is known. For seemingly, since one was born a Yid, change is not applicable. Therefore, why should one recite a blessing each day? It is explained in the Shulchan Aruch, that the reason for blessing, “who has not made me a gentile”
(and similarly – the blessing “who has not made me a slave” and “who has not made me a woman”)
is because “these blessings relate to (the return of one’s soul after) it departed at night; (one thanks G-d) that the soul of a non-Jew, servant, or woman did not attach itself to it etc. ”.
This means that when the holy soul of a Yid enters into him each day, it is an aspect of innovation (חידוש). So much so, that one must recite a blessing “that the soul of a non-Jew did not attach itself to it”. Each day, the entering of the holy soul into a Yid, is similar to the aspect of conversion (when the entering of the holy soul was manifested the first time).
8. On this, there is the lesson, that since for each Yid, one’s holy soul enters him each day,
(Which is why each Yid can (and moreover, each Yid is obligated) to recite the blessing “who has not made me etc.” each day and “without any doubt or the faintest vestige of doubt in the world” that it is not, G-d forbid, a blessing in vain),
This “conversion” and covenant between a Yid and G-d is complete -”he is not lacking at all”.
In the words of the Sages,
“A Yisroel . . even if he has sinned is (still called a) “Yisroel”.
The sins of a Yid can only blemish the revelation of the holy soul. This means, that through the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvot, it (causes) “dwelling” (שוכן). The holy soul illuminates within him (and the Torah and Mitzvot, make him, in a manner that is evident to all, close to G-d).
Whereas, a Yid who sins – his holy soul is concealed, covered by the spirit of folly (רוח שטות) that entered him (i.e. that came from without). Therefore, even then – he is a Yisroel, since he possesses “Yisroel” (ישראל) – "a head for Me" (לי ראש) – the holy soul, as aforementioned
Therefore, his “covenant” (brit) (and “conversion”) with G-d – which makes him a Yid is – complete – “he is not lacking at all”.
Since the soul “remains faithful to Him even while the sin is being committed”, this affects (in the end) every Yid, that his soul should emanate (ארויס) and come out visibly. Like the Torah ruling that, “No one banished from Him (by his sins) will remain banished” (לא ידח ממנו נדת), and “it is certain that one will ultimately repent”.
So much so, that it will be in all Klal Yisroel – like the ruling that “the Torah promises that, in the end, Yisroel will do Teshuva (return) “.
As it states, “Yisroel will do Teshuva and they will be immediately redeemed”, with the true and complete Geulah through our righteous Moshiach, which at that time will be fulfilled the tiding,
“I will form a covenant with the house of Israel . . a new covenant”,
where concealment and changes (העלם ושינויים) is not applicable. Speedily and in our days, mamosh.
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Ma’asei and Shabbat Parshat Devarim 5744
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